The time has come for people to understand and accept the differences of each other’s religion to continue live in harmony, said Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) Penang chairperson Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam,
The event, which was organised on December 16, at Fort Cornwallis, Penang by the Penang churches of the CFM, in collaboration with the Penang State Government was the 5th annual state level Christmas open house.
“We are gathered here together today, in a special way, to promote Jesus Christ for peace and harmony in Penang and Malaysia,” said Antony.
“When we speak of Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus, we do not leave out people of other faith. We are Christians and we differ in our belief with the others but all of us of different faith believe there is God.”
He said that just last week the people of all faith from the Penang Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taosim (MCBCHST) gathered for a goodwill dinner with the chief minister.
The open house, with the theme “Jesus, Hope of the World” saw more than 15 churches from Penang participating with songs, dances and sketches. Each church had their own unique style of presentation, which captivated the audiences.
Among those present at the event were organizing chairperson Arokiadass, CFM Penang chairperson Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam, CCM chairperson Rev. Christopher Tan, NECF Northern Region Coordinator Rev. Sam Surendran and Catholic Bishop of Penang Rt. Rev. Sebastian Francis.
They were also joined by Penang chief minister, Lim Guan Eng and the state executive council members.
According to Anthony, MCBCHST had done its best to interact with members of different faith and this initiative is important for people not to pre-judge one another but should begin to understand and accept the differences and learn to live in harmony with each other.
“The government in Malaysia must also care for people of all faith. That is why we were very glad when the Penang state government invited CFM to jointly organize the Christmas open house. This year, marks the 5th year we had been celebrating Christmas open house, CFM is working with the government all this while for harmony, peace and mutual understanding. The government should know the needs and aspirations of the religious people and be of service to them.”
He ended his speech by thanking the chief minister for giving them the opportunity to organize the open house again and hoped that the open house will continue for many more years.
“I wish and pray that Jesus Christ will bring peace and harmony to our country. May the state government continue to govern justly and brings peace to Penang and Malaysia.”
Lim Guan Eng, in his speech wished the attendees a blessed and joyous Christmas.
“We thank God for our beloved country Malaysia, our beloved state Penang and we pray that all its citizens, Christians, Non Christians all pursue towards unity, multiracial solidarity and peaceful harmony for all regardless of race and religion and that the freedom of religion shall always be preserved.” he continued.
“Christmas is all about love and hope. A hope for a better future for all of us, in Penang, in Malaysia and in the world. May God’s love, peace and joy, be upon each and every one of us, our families, churches and our beloved state of Penang.”
After his speech, there was a cheque presentation ceremony to six charitable organizations, which include the Salvation Army, the Lifebridge Learning Centre and the Lighthouse. The donations were from CFM.
- Enjoying the food.
- The rain came but the people stay put.
- Representatives of the 6 organisations that received the donations, posing for a group photo (all on right).